Veggie-Friendly Quinoa Chili Recipe

Chili is a recipe that should be on everyone's meal rotation because not only is it delicious, it's usually made in one pot and is simple to throw together. With hundreds of versions out there it's easy to find one that meets your dietary needs and gives you that warm and cozy comfort feeling. As the popularity of plant-based and nutritious meals continues to rise, this veggie friendly quinoa chili offers a satisfying and hearty alternative, showcasing the versatility of quinoa as a protein-packed foundation. Laden with a colorful medley of vegetables, this chili not only captures the essence of comfort food but also lets you eat vegan without even realizing it.

Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "The quinoa in this recipe gives the chili a hearty and meat-like texture while taking on the seasonings and flavors that we are combining in this recipe. This is a great meal prep item because it will keep well in the fridge for up to a week." When you're ready to enjoy, simply pull some out of the fridge, heat it up, and add your favorite toppings for a hearty lunch or dinner option.

Gather the ingredients for veggie-friendly quinoa chili

To make this recipe, start in the produce aisle and pick up onion, garlic, bell peppers, jalapeño, and optional toppings avocado and cilantro. You'll need several items from the dry goods area: vegetable broth, fire roasted tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, canned green chilis, and quinoa. Then head on over to frozen foods and throw a bag of frozen corn into your cart.

Check your condiment and spice cabinet for avocado oil, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. "It may seem like a lot of spices to use for chili but this homemade blend tastes so much fresher than a premade chili blend," Hahn explains. If you want to top your chili with sour cream and cheese, be sure to buy those options as well.

Step 1: Add oil to a pot

Add the oil to a large pot over medium-high heat.

Step 2: Saute the vegetables

Add the onions, garlic, red pepper, and jalapeño and cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently.

Step 3: Spice it up

Add the broth, fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, beans, green chiles, quinoa, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Step 4: Cover and simmer

Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer, cover, and cook for 45-50 minutes or until the quinoa is done. Stir occasionally.

Step 5: Add the corn

Add the corn and simmer for about 5 minutes or until it is thawed.

Step 6: Serve the quinoa chili

Add optional toppings and serve.

How can I get creative with this veggie-friendly quinoa chili?

If you want to change up the vegetables in the quinoa chili there are many options. Chopped sweet potatoes will add a sweet and hearty flavor to the chili. Just add them when you add the broth, quinoa, and spices, and they will cook in the same amount of time that it takes to cook the quinoa. Cubes of butternut squash can be a nice addition too and bring a slightly sweet and creamy texture. Sliced mushrooms can contribute a savory and meaty texture. You can use white, cremini, shiitake, or portobello. Add leafy greens for extra color and fiber, just be sure to stir them in towards the end of cooking to wilt them. 

If you want to experiment with another type of grain, try bulgur, barley, or farro. If you buy the long cooking method type the cooking time will be the same. Experiment with different beans such as cannellini beans, black eyed peas, or chickpeas. Adjust the thickness of the chili by adding more or less vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes. Making it nice and thick works well if you want to wrap it up in a tortilla.

What can I serve with quinoa chili?

"Chili lends itself to lots of fresh toppings and I like to set up an array of choices so guests can create their own chili masterpiece," Hahn shares. Sliced or chopped avocado adds richness and a cool contrast to the warmth of the chili. Chopped cilantro adds a burst of freshness and a hint of citrus to the chili. Squeezing fresh lime juice over the chili just before serving adds a zesty kick. The mild onion flavor of green onions complements the chili and adds a nice crunch. Choose your favorite cheese, such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a Mexican blend, and sprinkle it on top. Vegan cheese is an option for a plant-based version. A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt provides a creamy element that balances the spices. Fresh diced tomatoes add a juicy and vibrant element to the chili. For those who enjoy some heat, raw or pickled jalapeños can be a flavorful and spicy addition.

If you want to add a side dish with the chili, a simple green salad, Mexican kale salad, or a Mexican slaw are all nice choices. Fruit is a nice refreshing complement to the spicy chili.

Veggie-Friendly Quinoa Chili Recipe
5 from 35 ratings
Warm up with this veggie-friendly quinoa chili -- it's completely vegan and absolutely jam-packed with beans and vegetables.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
50
minutes
Servings
8
Servings
bowl of chili
Total time: 1 hour
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (any color)
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (7-ounce) can green chiles
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup frozen corn
Optional Ingredients
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • shredded cheese
Directions
  1. Add the oil to a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, red pepper, and jalapeño and cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the broth, fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, beans, green chiles, quinoa, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer, cover, and cook for 45-50 minutes or until the quinoa is done. Stir occasionally.
  5. Add the corn and simmer for about 5 minutes or until it is thawed.
  6. Add optional toppings and serve.
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